February 27, 2012
YIYUN LI’S COLLECTION OF STORIES GOLD BOY, EMERALD GIRL CHOSEN AS THE SPRING 2012 ONE BOOK, ONE CHICAGO SELECTION
Chicago Public Library is proud to announce that the short story collection Gold Boy, Emerald Girl by Yiyun Li is the latest selection for Chicago’s citywide book club, One Book, One Chicago.
Yiyun Li is one of contemporary literature’s masters of the short story. Her work has been published extensively and received countless awards, including the Plimpton Prize from The Paris Review and a Pushcart Prize. In 2010 Li received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship. A native of China who moved to the United States in 1996 at the age of 23, she set out to study immunology but changed course and began to write stories in English, still the only language in which she writes.
“One Book, One Chicago continues to bring residents from across the city together to celebrate the joy of exploring new worlds through reading,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Gold Boy, Emerald Girl continues the rich and varied history of One Book, One Chicago, and I look forward to joining the thousands of residents in reading it this spring.”
Gold Boy, Emerald Girl is a collection of nine short stories all set in China between the 1970s and the present date. Its stories and characters share a captivating simplicity both in style and substance, and will unveil a China and a people very similar to us. The world Li creates is populated by ordinary Chinese people and the daily joys and challenges of their lives—from a girl in the army trying to keep her distance for self-preservation, to the woman who takes in wives and families of inmates on death row, to the man who has returned to China after years in the U.S. and has secrets from the mother who takes him in.
Writer Francine Prose wrote in one review, “Yiyun Li’s tenderness toward her characters, her respect for the richness of their lives, and the subtlety and gentle humor with which she portrays them make the experience of reading Gold Boy, Emerald Girl consistently heartening.”
Throughout April, the Chicago Public Library and its program partners offer a variety of events celebrating the book and the people it portrays. Highlights include:
- Yiyun Li discusses the book with Achy Obejas at the Harold Washington Library Center on April 19;
- Author and scholar Jeffrey Wasserstrom presents a lecture on 21st century presented in partnership with Chicago Sister Cities;
- The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago offer a week of screenings of the documentary film Mulberry Child, which shares many themes from Gold Boy, Emerald Girl and features local author Jian Ping;
- Silk Road Rising theatre troupe stage a reading from the book;
- A concert of music inspired by Li’s stories presented with the Chinese Fine Arts Society;
- A tour of Chinatown with the Chinese Cultural Institute;
- The Chinese-American Museum of Chicago present a lecture and exhibits;
- An open mic night for teens in YOUmedia at the Chicago Public Library.
As they have for each of the One Book, One Chicago selections, the Department of English at DePaul University will offer a course based on the book, along with panel discussions and lectures on their Lincoln Park campus.
An exhibit of artwork inspired by Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, created by Chicago-area high school students through workshops in the Library’s YOUmedia digital space for teens, will run throughout April at the Harold Washington Library Center. This exhibit includes photography, graphic design, painting, illustration and poetry.
Chicago Public Library librarians have created a resource guide for Gold Boy, Emerald Girl that is available online and at all Chicago Public Library locations, bookstores and partner institutions. It includes background information, discussion questions, events listing and more. The artwork for the guide was created by local artist Diana Sudyka.
Throughout its 139-year history, the Chicago Public Library has always encouraged Chicagoans of all ages to make reading a priority. One Book, One Chicago began in the fall of 2001, to encourage all Chicagoans to read the same book at the same time, and discuss a great piece of literature with friends and neighbors. The tenth anniversary of the program was celebrated last fall.
The 2012 Spring One Book, One Chicago is presented by the Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Public Library Foundation, Allstate and BMO Harris. Partners include DePaul University, Park Hyatt Chicago, and Chicago Public Radio.
Past One Book, One Chicago selections have been To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Night by Elie Wiesel; My Ántonia by Willa Cather; A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry; The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien; The Coast of Chicago by Stuart Dybek; In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez; The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark; Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri; Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin; The Crucible by Arthur Miller; The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler; The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe; The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros; The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City by Carl Smith; Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín; A Mercy by Toni Morrison; Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman; and The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow.
For more information, please visit the website, onebookonechicago.org, or call the Chicago Public Library Press Office at (312) 747-4050.